Boston High School: Al Noonan

Recap: Foxborough 6, Sandwich 2

April, 21, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Foxborough boys’ lacrosse dug in against Sandwich in the second quarter. The Blue Knights closed to within in a goal, and headed into the third quarter, Sandwich held a man-up.

The Blue Knights continued to exhibit patience with the ball and had several clean looks at the cage in the opening minutes of the second half.

And there was Greg Stamatov.

The Warriors’ goaltender and Villanova signee swatted and scooped his way to five of his nine saves in the third quarter. On calmer seas, the Warriors settled in for the fourth and added to their lead, taking a 6-2 win over the Blue Knights at Gillette Stadium.

“He kept us in the game during that storm in the second quarter,” Foxborough head coach Matt Noone said of Stamatov, “and then we were able to get some separation a little bit in the fourth quarter, but what a game. My defense played well in front of him, too, but what can you say about Greg Stamatov? We’ll miss him when he’s gone.”

The Warriors’ victory was capped on the second goal of the day from attack Tyler Ames (2 G, A), but the offense was balanced. Seven Foxborough (6-2) players recorded points.

Foxborough defensive unit was also game behind poles Conor Lynch, Al Noonan and Luc Valenza.

Of the players Foxborough lost to graduation, they were particularly hard hit on offense.

Ames is among the group that has tried to pick up the slack.

“Things have been really clicking lately,” the junior attack said. “We’ve tried some different things in practice and then brining those things onto the field. Coach has told us with all of those kids graduating from last year, we have to step up. There more we’ve gotten into this season, we’re trying to fill those shoes and get after it.”

Ames showed quick hands on a nice pass across the crease on Anthony Fertitta’s goal with 6:56 to play. He then capped the victory with a goal, flying through the air across the cage with under four minutes.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Here are a smattering of thoughts from No. 25 Foxborough’s 10-2 non-league win over Barnstable on Friday morning:

The Warriors (2-0) are built from the crease out, with ESPN Boston All-State goaltender Greg Stamatov leading the way. However, against the Red Raiders (1-2), Foxborough’s defenders were able to eliminate any kind of possession game for Barnstable early, and conversely were able to set up their own offense.

Long poles Conor Lynch, Al Noonan (4 ground balls) and Luc Valenza, along with long-stick middie Brenden Lovely (4 GB) bottled up the Red Raider attacks’ dodges and were able to use their speed to capitalize on Barnstable’s turnovers.

Foxborough head coach Matt Noone lost a bunch of key offensive contributors to graduation from last year’s squad, so the offense has been a work in progress during the early weeks.

The Warriors displayed their skill against Barnstable though, particularly on Mike Campbell’s dazzling third-quarter goal, scored nearly with his back to cage off a dodge. Campbell netted a hat trick along with fellow attack Tyler Ames.

Midfielder Anthony Fertita also had a three-point game with two goals and an assist.

“Right now, our defense is strong and our offense has come along, but that’s natural for the offense to be a little behind the defense this early in the season,” Noone said. “But we have guys that stepped up today. Mikey Campbell stepped up on attack and obviously Greg Stamatov in goal is just great.”

After some early season shockers, it looks as through the Hockomock League title are very much up for grabs.

Noone was in agreement.

“I think [the league] is wide open,” he said. “Obviously, Franklin and Foxborough have had a mark on their backs with us winning the small Hock and Franklin winning the big Hock. But the other day Mansfield beat Franklin and North Attleborough beat King Philip.

“For now, we’re just worrying about what we can do here in Foxborough.”
Last year, as a junior, Foxborough lacrosse goaltender Greg Stamatov led the Warriors on their deepest postseason run in program history with a senior-laden team.

This year, the senior netminder, who’s ranked as the nation’s 100th best Class of 2012 player by ESPNHS, is prepared to take the Warriors a step further – to their first-ever state championship appearance.

We chatted with the Villanova signee after the Warriors’ 10-3 win over Barnstable on Friday to talk about the new season:

Q: So catch us up on what you’ve been up to since we saw last lacrosse season. Seemed like a busy schedule.

A: It was a great summer, [with the New England Select Lacrosse League Whalers] we went to the Brine Shootout, a tournament at Rutgers, King of the Hill in Pennsylvania, and those were all really good tournaments. We came in second at the Brine Shootout and that was an unbelievable tournament. We upset Tri-State from New Jersey. We lost to Calvert Hall (Mary.) in the finals, but we beat Boys Latin (Mary.) and Haverford (Penn.). But it was a great summer and I got to see some serious rubber. I feel like I got a lot better and then, all winter, we’ve all been working since November, taking shots.

Q: You were among the Massachusetts contingent at the Warrior 40 at Harvard Stadium. What was that experience like?

A: “It was crazy. It was so fun. Everyone’s the same, but with a little hint of where they’re from, you know what I mean? Everybody became good friends, it’s a just a matter of everyone meeting everyone. It’s just crazy because the talent is so good. I saw a lot of great shots.”

Q: It looks like you once again have a very strong defense in front of you this year. How much of a goaltender’s success goes back to those poles?

A: “This year, the two returning players on defense are me and Al Noonan. We know the defense like the back of our hands. But our younger guys are fast and talented and they can grasp it real quick. We’ve got fast defensemen, but they can run anything and, with that kind of D, nobody can run inside of us. I think the strength of the team is our defense. If we’re playing good on the back end, then our offense can build off of that. We just want to get a quick stop and then get the ball down field. That’s the way to hurt another team. Then, we get to rest, and we’re fresh when they come back at us. I think that’s something that can take us far in the postseason.”

Q: Speaking of which, this team is coming off its furthest postseason run in program history. What did last year’s success mean to this program as a whole?

A: “That’s the best our town has ever done and that team was almost all seniors, but even with them being gone, we still know what we want to do, and that’s to go another round further, which would be the state championship. That was a crazy ride, and we beat some great teams. But now we know what it takes to get there as a group. That’s just going to set us up even better going into this season. It’s not the same guys, but it’s the same system, same mentality.”

Q: There have been a couple of early season Hockomock League surprises so far (Mansfield, North Attleborough), but how do you see the league playing out?

A: “It’s going to be an interesting year for sure. What do I think? … (Trails off.) I don’t know what to think. I guess I think that I’m ready for anything to happen. But we don’t change our game for anything depending upon the opponent. We have some different defensive schemes and different offenses, but when it comes down to it, it’s just all about hustling to loose balls and executing the systems … If we stick to our fundamentals, we’ll be able to stick with any team.”